Widow learns identity of woman her officer husband saved on 9/11

A photo shows Port Authority Police Officer Christopher Amoroso saving a woman before re-entering the World Trade Center


By Amanda Spence

NEW YORK — Port Authority Police Officer Christopher Amoroso was killed while responding to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. An image was taken of Officer Amoroso, who rescued a woman before going back inside the building. For two decades, the woman’s identity has remained unknown. However, WNBC found the woman and got her in touch with Amoroso’s widow for a life-changing conversation.

The feature piece, which has now received an Edward R. Murrow award, includes the work of photojournalist Michael DelGiudice and reporter Adam Harding. The photo of Amoroso was taken by New York Daily News photographer Todd Maisel.

“I knew when the second tower fell. I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be good. I just knew,” Amoroso’s widow, Jaime, said. “[The photo] was given to me. It was good and bad. We have the proof he was a hero. He saved this woman.”

Jaime thought about the woman often, wondering if she got out alive. It was unknown who she was until a man identified her as his mother thanks to a social media post for 9/11 victims.

“That woman Officer Amoroso is seen helping in this photo is my mother, Suman Dhamija. My mother has severe asthma so after running down the stairs of the second tower and with all the debris and smoke in the air, she could not breathe,” the man said on social media. “Officer Amoroso helped lift her up and walk away from the towers. This photo was taken before the second tower collapsed.”

Dhamija worked in one of the towers, but lives in India now. However, she has vivid memories from that day, including her rescue with Amoroso. “He said, ‘Ma'am, relax. We are here to help,’” she recounted. “I wish the best for his family, for his loved ones. If he wasn't there, there is no way I could have made it.”

According to Dhamija, Amoroso took her to safety but then went back into the building to help others. She was never able to thank him for his efforts, but every September 11 she lights candles with her family to commemorate her second birth because of the officer.

“Tell her that she had such a wonderful husband and that I'm alive because of him,” Dhamija said about Jamie, who cried when she learned the woman’s identity.

The two women were able to meet through a video call.

“Did he seem scared?” Jaime wanted to know.

“He wasn't scared, but I was scared,” Dhamija replied.

NEXT: 'It wasn't the same after 9/11': How becoming a cop saved an FDNY firefighter's life

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